Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government had spent Rp115 trillion on Indonesian healthcare insurance BPJS Health until 2018, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

"'I need to inform that until 2018, the government had spent funds reaching some Rp115 trillion in addition to the government subsidy for insurance fees of some 37 million people and for about 17 million military and police officers. It means the government has, so far, subsidized some 150 million people," Jokowi remarked during a limited cabinet meeting on the National Health Program at the Presidential Office here on Thursday.

"This is a fantastic amount. I want the management of BPJS to be improved and corrected," he stated.

The members of BPJS Health rose to 222 million people, from 133 million in 2014.

"Of the total, 96 million are poor that received free insurance coverage provided by the government," he remarked.

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He noted that the working orientation of the health sector must be shifted from prioritizing curing the ill to disease prevention and health promotion.

"Hence, I urge the health minister to adopt new and innovative measures and educate the public to lead a healthy lifestyle. This should become a movement that involves every stakeholder at schools and the public, in general," he emphasized during the meeting attended by several ministers.

He also pressed for deregulation in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries.

"They (the regulations) should be cut extensively and simplified to enable the pharmaceutical sector players to grow and help the public to purchase medicines at affordable prices. According to reports that I received, 95 percent of drug raw materials are imported. It must not be continued for long," he stated.

He also called for better incentives for researches on medical innovation.

On Nov 15, President Jokowi reiterated the significance of the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) streamlining its management as an effective strategy to restrain the deficit in the institution.

"Once again, the BPJS should improve its management," the president reiterated after paying an impromptu visit to the Abdul Moeloek Hospital in Bandar Lampung to observe the BPJS services at the hospital.

Jokowi attributed BPJS Kesehatan’s deficit to mismanagement since several independent participants were incapable of footing the premium.

The discipline for the payment of premium should be intensified to help curtail the agency's deficit.

Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister Mardiasmo revealed that BPJS Kesehatan's deficit was caused by the inability of particularly participants of the non-wage recipients scheme (PBPU) to pay the premium.

Only half of the 32 million PBPU participants had paid the premium, he remarked.

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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